In addition to new, modern games and indies, I often pine for the olden golden days of arcades. Not just the stuff everyone always talks about either. I really enjoy off-the-beaten path games. In the past I shared a little music from King of the Monsters 2 here on Cortex and my favorite beat’em-up over in a Shack Chat, but more recently, I randomly came across a Nintendo Punch-Out!! spinoff simply called Arm Wrestling.
Released in 1985, Arm Wrestling is a bit different from several other arm wrestling arcades which often employed an actual mechanical hand. However, it was a spinoff to the original Punch-Out!! arcade machines and featured the two-screen design employed by them. Like in the Punch-Out!! arcade games, you’re a weirdly-green haired everyman looking to make your way in the underground circuit of arm wrestling competitions. The game employed some fantastic voice sampling throughout and starts off right from the get go with a “We have been waiting for you” taken from Bruce Lee film Enter the Dragon.
There are only really five opponents in Arm Wrestling: Texas Mack, sumo wrestler Kabuki, Mask X (who is actually Punch-Out!!’s Bald Bull in a luchador mask), Alice and her strong arm robot Ape III, and Frankenstein monster-inspired Frank Jr. After beating Frank Jr, it starts you over on a higher difficulty, but dang if each of these characters don’t have a ton of personality to them. At various points you can counter foes with a yank and get bonus points as they try to recover and make faces like they just pooped themselves in the middle of a speech in a crowded auditorium, but they also have some funny gimmicks to them.
Kabuki gives you crazy looks throughout your contest with him. Mask Bull will try to headbutt you, forcing you to rip his mask off to expose and defeat him. Alice will get Ape III to employ a dastardly magnet to try to win the match that you have to steal and use to break the robo ape. Finally, Frank Jr. will randomly demand you “WwwAIT!” during the competition. Trying to move before he puts his hand down will cause him to overpower you. He’ll also blow fire at you. What a cad.
And then there’s the freaking voice clips. I was in love with this game from the moment “We have been waiting for you” played, but it just gets better. Winning has your not-Little Mac tough guy character jump up in his varsity vest with a wacky little “WOW! YaHOo yaHoO!!” (at 0:48 in the video above) I can’t even tell what the hell they’re going for when you yank Bald Bull’s mask off (3:38), but when he beats you, he has a laugh as if they actually sampled a baby laughing (2:53). It’d be creepy if it wasn’t so funny. Same goes for a clip from the judge when you fail to catch the bag of money he throws to you at the end (5:29). The whole thing is just a cornucopia of weird, outdated voice technology and I love it.
Had you seen this game before? Have you played it? I kind of love it and I really gotta say: Nintendo, heck with Punch-Out!! Where’s the Arm Wrestling arcade revival?